I am happy to report that our Seagulls are the Christmas number one – in League One that is, writes Ray Eggleton!
We were due to play last Friday night but our game against Notts County was frozen off! Seagulls’ fans from all over Sussex and beyond were watching the weather and following the reports. The club website was confident the game would be on, a view not shared by fans in outlying areas! Finally, with many on their way to Withdean, came the news. GAME OFF! Referee Phil Crossley postponed the match about 80 minutes before kick-off.
Manager Gus Poyet said “It’s frustrating because we tried everything up to 6.30. The ref tried his best … but it was one of the strangest days of weather.” Despite the ground staff’s best efforts an area in front of the away stand remained frozen. So no football for us, until Boxing Day at least!
And so it seemed that our longstanding lead at the top must come to an end! Sheffield Wednesday in second spot, just three points behind and with a better goal difference, were playing at Exeter. It turned out that this was the only League One game played. A win for Wednesday meant they would jump above us. BUT they LOST 5 – 1! So a very big thank-you to all those at the Devon club for getting the game played – and winning! Denting Wednesday’s goal difference was a bonus! I think I said last week that results were going our way. Long may it continue!
So TOP for Christmas. Can we still be top in January?
The games now come quickly. Boxing Day takes us to Dagenham & Redbridge and hopefully, weather permitting, we can return with three points. Not exactly a local derby but a game I’m looking forward to. All the Albion allocation of tickets were rapidly sold.
Every game is a big one when you are chasing promotion, but the game three days later, (Wednesday 29th December k.o. 19.45) is BIG. Charlton come to Withdean probably still smarting from the 4 – 0 thrashing we gave them at The Valley! They are four points behind us, third equal along with Huddersfield.
Two days later, on Saturday, New Years Day, its Withdean again against Leyton Orient. We owe them as they inflicted one of our rare defeats back in September. That was at Withdean too but in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Poyet wasn’t unhappy about being knocked out then. But he will be deadly serious about this league match!
Another two days and we are off to Exeter on the Monday Bank Holiday, 3rd January. We will be attempting to do rather better than Sheffield Wednesday - but it won’t be easy! The Grecians have a great home record.
The weather may have deprived us of much footie but there have been plenty of football related stories, none bringing credit to the “beautiful game”! Gambling on red cards! Being allowed to put £500 on somebody getting themselves sent off can’t be right. More top clubs going into foreign ownership can’t be good for the game. Then there is the rapid sacking of managers. The story that upset me most was the Carlos Tevez saga. Forget that he wants away from Man City, just think about the £230,000 per week he is apparently paid. That’s obscene! How many student loans could he pay off with his weekly wage? Perhaps it is unfair that I can’t warm to Tevez. I think he reminds me of Maradona and the “Hand of God”, never to be forgiven!
There have been happy positives for Albion season ticket holders. We have the AMEX stadium to look forward to. In January I will go along to a scheduled presentation to pick my seat! Now this is proving to be controversial! We have a “friends and family” group to consider and I’m getting conflicting opinions on where we should sit! Near the away fans for more of “We can see you holding hands” or North Stand for the singing, or centre line for a better view? I can’t decide but it’s a nice problem made easier knowing every seat is padded and will provide an excellent view! Roll on August - and the Championship!
Finally top of the wish list for Albion fans is to be top in January, the start of 2011. It is widely thought that Poyet will have money for the January sales! Another couple of top-notch players should see us complete the season in an all important promotion spot. A replacement for LuaLua is certainly on Gus’s list. Craig Noone of Plymouth has been mentioned and Argyle’s financial problems, they owed the taxman £760,000, may be the key factor in us getting the highly rated winger. Watch this space! And do have a good Christmas.